I have recommended that taxpayers cut off discretionary spending as a response to the government shutdown and looming default. However in the last week there has been little Congressional response to the lobbying efforts of business groups. There is a simple explanation for that: the shutdown is fueled by ideology rather than political and economic expediency. It has come to the point where a radical group of Republicans feels free to ignore the money interests that helped get them elected. Unfortunately, they are still listening to the biggest of these money interests, think tanks and PACS which are run by people who don’t have to worry about votes or balance sheets.
Take, for example, Ted Cruz. He would not be a Senator today without the help of The Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund. Together, in the 2014 cycle, they gave him $1,021,648. This is more than 55 percent of his total contributions. His other top contributors are banks, lobbying firms, and of course Goldman Sachs. You might expect Goldman’s input since his wife is a vice-president there, but the bank shows up as a contributor to other radicals as well. Cruz wants to wipe out Affordable Care. What he doesn’t say is that it won’t affect him either way; he has health insurance from Goldman Sachs through his wife. Then there is the other disturbing contributor that keeps coming up when you look at the finances of Cruz and others in this radical group, Berkshire Hathaway.
Before I get to the main point of this post, I would like to point out the irony of this situation. Business has always thought it had an alliance with the Republican Party, and against the rest of us. That is, against employees. Consumers they like. They didn’t seem to object when women were being called sluts, maybe because they sort of liked the idea of not having to pay for employees’ birth control. And of course, they’ve always been fine with holding down the minimum wage. A weak labor union is a good labor union. Affordable care? Not if it means they have to pay. And yet it never occurred to them that the stingy, mean, unjust spirit behind this thinking would turn on them. What did they think would happen?
On second thought, my main point might backfire. I was going to suggest that business use its clout to end this, but who would they be most likely to help? We already know the answer to that question.
If the Congress hasn’t resolved this by Thursday I recommend the following: no one goes to work, no one drives, we buy only necessary food items. Employers who fire anyone at that time for any reason should be boycotted.
[I don’t have positions in Goldman Sachs (GS-PC) or Bershire Hathaway (BRK-A).]
I’ve been thinking about my recommendation. I don’t think it was too extreme considering the seriousness of the threat, but because I wouldn’t be risking as much as many of you I’ve decided it’s not a good idea. Things seem to be looking up so it may never have come to that, but at least I can remove the stress of thinking about it.